PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Dozens of sheriff's deputies stood in solidarity on the steps of City Hall on Friday to decry not receiving hazard pay.
"The fact that we put our lives at risk like this and we’re not appreciated, it's like almost you don't even have words for it," said Lt. Pamela Ellis.
The city gave first responders like police and firefighters a $2,000 one-time hazard payment for working during the COVID-19 pandemic, but deputies did not receive any payments. The money is coming from the federal CARES Act.
Other cities, like Norfolk and Virginia Beach, included deputies in receiving hazard pay.
"The city has neglected us. All we want is a reason why. That's where we want to start. Why were we left off that CARES Act funding?" said Sheriff Michael Moore.
Moore sent City Manager Dr. Lydia Pettis-Patton a letter earlier this month, asking that deputies not be forgotten. Patton responded saying the services Moore described in his letter "are standard services or elected services offered by the Sheriff's Office pre-COVID, which do not meet the guidelines for the use of the funds."
A city spokesperson did not respond to News 3 when a reporter asked for further explanation. City Councilman Nathan Clark said the topic has not come up in the city council so far. He said other departments have also requested hazard pay, so the city would have to see how much of the CARES Act funding is available.
Deputies want answers now. "We put our lives on the line every day, and it's just a slap in the face," said Lt. Ellis. "We don't feel appreciated."